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The ‘Rent-a-Room relief’ scheme: Homeowners can earn €14,000 by renting spare room to students

Galway homeowners may earn up to €14,000 per year tax-free by assisting with the Irish student housing issue. The ‘Rent-a-Room Relief’ scheme is also available to families living in social housing and those on social welfare.

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris stated that the plan will serve as a crucial “release valve” during acute shortages of student housing in the aftermath of the pandemic. While state-funded student housing is in the works, the Department is urging homeowners to explore the plan, which has no affect on social welfare entitlements or medical card eligibility.

The scheme provides an annual exemption of up to €14,000 for renting out family rooms and self-contained apartments, such as attic or cellar conversions. The scheme also allows for the rental of social housing to tenants. The Department further emphasises that the €14,000 exemption does not affect homeowners, social housing tenants, or renters’ social welfare payments.

The scheme is primarily meant for homeowners, with the property being part of a prospective letter’s usual residence. The annual rent must not be more than €14,000.

The scheme is likewise intended to eliminate short-term lets and applies to tenancies lasting at least 28 days. The guidelines also provide that the rooms can be rented out from those renting themselves. Subletting is permissible with the landlord’s permission. However, proof of ownership is required when renting to HAP tenants.

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